CHELSEA fans are condemned to begin their agonising Moscow experiences this week – the hunt for flights, the battle for tickets, the aggro over visas.
For some there is the sleepless night at the airport to look forward to after a final scheduled to finish at around 12.45am local time – later if there is extra time. For others, there will be an impossible search for a hotel room that does not entail a simultaneous quest for a second mortgage.
But if the outcome resembles Wednesday night’s euphoric and emotional package, not a soul will complain.
Stamford Bridge has not seen that many truly earth-trembling moments in European competition in recent years. The famous 4-2 win over Barcelona a few seasons ago was perhaps the most special but previous semi-finals have entailed inconclusive first legs against Liverpool and the trauma of a useless draw against Monaco.
Now, on home soil, the search for a first Champions League final place is over. Now the Blues really can dream of becoming the first London side to win the biggest club prize going.
On a night of fierce drama in incessant driving rain, there was so much going on that it is hard to know where to start in capturing the essence of such a special night for Blues fans.
But how about the sight of Frank Lampard having the guts to take and put away a penalty in extra-time when the whole of Stamford Bridge must have been silently wishing Michael Ballack would take the responsibility as he had done against Man United on Saturday?
How about the sight of a tearful Lampard being mobbed after converting that penalty – the memory of his mother Pat still raw after her untimely death last week?
How about the sight of Avram Grant sinking to his knees on the sodden turf at the final whistle, arms outstretched in thanks to the heavens on a day when he donned a black armband to commemorate the Holocaust?
How about the sight of Steve Clarke embracing Didier Drogba and John Terry – hinting at the internal dynamics at the club which have kept the players going so well since the shock departure of Jose Mourinho in the autumn.
And how about the sight of Drogba – foolishly condemned as a diver by Rafa Benitez beforehand – making that long celebratory slide along the touchline which stopped just in front of the Liverpool dug-out after his opening goal?
It was drama heaped on drama, with a bit more ladled on top for good measure.
Semi-finals are rarely straightforward affairs and although Drogba’s 33rd minute strike might have been enough – a lightning follow-up after Salomon Kalou shot had been parried by Pepe Reina – it served as no more than an insurance against the Reds cancelling out the away goal they conceded in injury time at Anfield.
So it proved when Fernando Torres finished smartly after Yossi Benayoun’s slalom towards the heart of the Chelsea penalty area.
That could easily have been the cue for the Blues believing they would be denied by Liverpool for a third time in a Champions League semi-final. And when Michael Essien had a ‘goal’ ruled out for offside that feeling might have grown even more.
But within a minute, Lampard had fired home and Drogba was soon tucking in his second of the night after the move of the night before the first period of extra time was over.
There were nerves to the very end because Petr Cech allowed a long range effort from Ryan Babel to spill over the line with a few minutes still to play, but the Blues were not to be denied this time.
"To create history at this club in my first year as manager, with all the difficulties we had this year means a lot to me," said a beaming Grant. "It’s very important to this club."
The Blues boss will enjoy his moment in Moscow. It was the unwritten Abramovich requirement that he get to the owner’s homeland for the final in order to keep his job.
Even that may not be enough unless his team beats Man United on May 21 in the first all-English final in the competition’s history.
He may find that even winning that match does not buy him undying affection from Blues fans though, because the suspicion remains that this is still Jose’s team and that Grant has not had the same degree of influence as his predecessor.
But mixed emotions or not, Chelsea fans will surely be relishing what’s to come and so will Grant.
"It’s strange two English teams in Moscow. It will be, I think, a great final," said the Chelsea coach.
"The important games we play better. Against Man United and Arsenal and Liverpool. It’s not easy to play like this three games in eight days as we have done and what is important to me is we are better than we were before."